Kylie Masse Wins Battle of Titans in 100 Back at Pan Pacs; Misses World Record

Photo Courtesy: Scott Grant

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The women’s 100 back, like the men’s 400 IM, was one of the most hyped races of the 2018 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. The three fastest swimmers in the world for the year, Kathleen Baker of the United States, Kylie Masse of Canada, and two-time defending Pan Pac champion Emily Seebohm of Australia, were all facing one another in the final. Young stars Regan Smith of the United States and Kaylee McKeown of Australia were also in the final and could steal a medal.

Baker (1st), Masse (2nd) and Seebohm (5th) are also all in the top eight all-time in the event, so surely it would take a world record to win the gold medal. Could we see someone go a 57 for the first time ever?

But also like the men’s 400 IM, the swimmers in the final swam slower than expected. Baker broke the world record at the US Nationals with a 58.00, but it was Masse on top in Tokyo with a 58.61, despite swimming faster in the heats at 58.29.

Masse won the gold while Seebohm got the silver at 58.72 and Baker got the bronze at 58.83.

Smith finished in fourth at 58.95 but it was not good enough to get a World Championship spot in that event. Olivia Smoliga was a 58.75 at Nationals and that will get the spot behind Baker for Gwangju next year. Smoliga won the B-Final tonight at 59.20.

McKeown (59.25) and Japan’s Natsumi Sakai (59.33) also broke a minute in the final. McKeown moved up to ninth in the world rankings with her swim.

Canada’s Kennedy Goss (1:00.90) finished in seventh while Japan’s Anna Konishi was disqualified.

2018 World Rankings:

  1. Kathleen Baker, USA, 58.00
  2. Kylie Masse, CAN, 58.54
  3. Emily Seebohm, AUS, 58.66
  4. Olivia Smoliga, USA, 58.75
  5. Regan Smith, USA, 58.83
  6. Taylor Ruck, CAN, 58.97
  7. Phoebe Bacon, USA, 59.12
  8. Anastasia Fesikova, RUS, 59.19

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  1. Erin Tobias

    I have to wonder if having their qualifying meet only two weeks before Pan Pacs has hurt the Americans. Not much recovery time.

    • avatar
      David Abineri

      I would agree. And for how long will we allow the NCAA to influence the brevity of our long course season. It seems to me that this puts us at a disadvantage in international competition especially as the rest of the world is moving up on us.

    • avatar
      Andy Ross

      It’s been an interesting meet thus far. It was a short turnaround from Nationals to this meet. Plus the 13 hour flight plus the time zone change. It was a lot to adjust to in a short period of time. I feel like the Americans will get stronger as the meet continues.